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Bishops release Eucharist pastoral letter

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have made public a pastoral letter on the Eucharist which they have written for next Sunday's Feast of Corpus Christi.

The letter - titled The Wonder of the Eucharist - avoids current international controversy over distribution of the Eucharist to politicians enacting legislation contrary to Church teaching, in favour of a more inspirational tone.

It begins by marvelling at the grandeur of the sacrament.

"Human imagination and intelligence cannot begin to grasp this wonderful, awesome, mind bending reality! It is beyond price. Nothing in the Universe can compare with it."

The letter includes quotes from the New Testament and Vatican II, but not Pope John Paul II or Vatican officials such as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze.

The Bishops had foreshadowed the release of the pastoral letter in a news release that followed their Plenary Meeting in Sydney last month. Their statement indicated that discussions at the Plenary outlined a program of "broad renewal and education with regard to the Eucharist".

Referring to the Vatican's recent Instruction on the Observance of the Eucharist, Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll told Vatican Radio after the Plenary: "We looked at the proposed translation for the new Missal and so-forth, particularly centering on the Eucharist.. "We're trying to give a broad renewal and education in regard to the Eucharist, which of course includes things mentioned in the Instruction."

The Wonder of the Eucharist: A Pastoral Letter from the Australian Bishops for the Feast of Corpus Christi (Australian
Catholic Bishops Conference 4/6/04)

Bishops act to refresh Australian Church with Eucharist focus (CathNews 21/5/04)(
Catholic bishops dip toes in election waters (The Age 7/6/04)
Vatican: Be Careful on Denying Communion (The Guardian/Associated Press 4/6/04)

7 Jun 2004